: My Epic (also terrifying) Road Trip from Calgary through Rocky Mountains to Missoula



Jon
03-18-10, 10:44 PM
Beware… There are lots of pictures.

My good friend Justin recently decided to pursue more education down at the University of Montana. While drinking at the bar some random night before he left, I decided I was going to visit him when I traveled to Calgary to work the Auto Show.

So here we go:

Day 1 – Monday, March 15

My alarm goes off at 4:30am after we partied til 2:30am the night before and I’m in the car for 5:00am. Google Maps says 808kms and my GPS says I’ll be there around 5:30pm… Not if I can help it!

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My 2010 Dodge Charger 2.7L V6 rental
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I get my Tim Hortons coffee and I’m on the road. This is the view with high beams on Highway 1 just west of Calgary heading towards the provincial parks. Maybe leaving at 5:00am wasn’t the greatest idea.
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6:03am I roll into Banff
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I continue on Highway 1 heading west until I get to Highway 93. The first thing I notice is I now no longer have reception on my cell phone. As I take the exit to Highway 93, we start to climb up the mountains. Now… This is normally a really scenic route, except this is all I saw. Nothing but pitch black. Not a single car, it’s too dark to even see the mountains. So with my high beams on I drive down the center of the road playing a drum solo with my horn hoping that I don’t encounter wildlife. Being the intelligent person I am I figure the faster I go the sooner I get out, right? The scariest part is when you see what these roads actually look like. Day 3 pictures will show them during the day.
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Oh.. And by this time the Tim Hortons had made its way through my system and I had to stop on the side of the road. Let me tell you, all you hear are the trees and wildlife, and at this point every horror movie I’ve ever seen is going through my head.

A little bit of daylight!
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And it gets brighter
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You don’t want to go off this road… Pretty steep and no guardrail. Top Gear Bolivian special anyone?
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Made it to Radium Hot Springs
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Driving towards the Canada/USA border crossing after stopping for breakfast at another Tim Hortons.
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Jon
03-18-10, 10:44 PM
10:17am I get to the border
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Now in Montana driving south on I93 towards Missoula. Very curvy mountain road with some stretches. It also runs through a couple towns so it gets annoying. Speed limit is 70mph is most areas, except most people are doing 10 under and I go 10 over. The little 2.7L Charger was somehow able to pass cars though.
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Into Missoula and almost there!
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At 1:43pm I’ve reached my destination.

Jon
03-18-10, 10:47 PM
Day 2 – Tuesday, March 16

Took it easy and slept in to make up for lost sleep, and then we were off to Seeley Lake. No idea what was there but we had time to explore.

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Some wildlife along some back roads that we decided to explore
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Nice view
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We drove back to Missoula and went up to Mansion Heights… A rich area with awesome houses that overlooks all of Missoula.
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Random car
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Jon
03-18-10, 10:47 PM
Day 3 coming...Day 3 – Wednesday, March 17

Unfortunately the partying was over and I now had to make my way back to Calgary for a midnight flight home to Toronto. Really depressing, but next year I will stay longer.

7:07am I head out
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11:15am I’m back in Canada
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Back at Radium Hot Springs and going north on Highway 93
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Saw a heard of deer
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Remember on Day 1 when I drove through that pitch black road? This is what it looks like during the day
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I get back to Highway 1 with lots of time to spare and decide to head west to Lake Louise
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Jon
03-18-10, 10:51 PM
Now heading back east on Highway 1 to Banff where I’ll drive up Mount Norquay on a hairpin road to find some more scenery

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Overlooking Banff
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Random snow storm in Banff.
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Driving out to Lake Minnewanka
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I leave Banff and drive east on Highway 1 until I reach Highway 40, where I turn south and head into Kananaskis Country
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The southern part of Highway 40 is closed for the winter and ends at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There is a very scenic and unpaved road that heads back west towards Kenmore. There is usually very little traffic here in the summer… In March… there was none. Oh, did I mention no more cell phone reception again? I’ve driven this road before in the summer and it looked ok so I went for it.
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About 10 minutes in the roads get a little worse…
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Jon
03-18-10, 10:56 PM
Then 10 minutes later worser…
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Oh sweet, now it’s snowing too…
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Luckily it gets better
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“Warning! Narrow winding roads ahead” Now it gets more fun
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Descending the mountain into Canmore
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Back in town and looking for a car wash
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On Highway 1 heading back to Calgary
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Total distance I drove for the trip
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orconn
03-18-10, 11:15 PM
Thanks for all the photos, I've never been up in that part of the world and it was a treat to see it through your eyes!

RightTurn
03-18-10, 11:18 PM
Beautiful pics--as always, Jon! I have to agree about the darkness and the horror-movie thoughts. :suspense: I freak out easily. :lol:

77CDV
03-19-10, 12:43 AM
Going for the Jesda Award? Great road trip and great pics!

eldorado99
03-19-10, 01:06 AM
I always liked being out in the wilderness and the middle of nowhere when its pitch black, one of my favourite parts of camping actually. It is just so serene and peaceful to me. Anyway thanks for the nice pics of my next door neighbour Jon!

gary88
03-19-10, 01:39 AM
Awesome, looks like a fun drive!

ben.gators
03-19-10, 01:46 AM
Great pics, I loved them. They are so motivative to have a trip in those curvy mountain roads. :D

BTW, how did you deal with that sluggish Charger? I have rented one of those 2.7L engine Chargers, and it sucks. So weak for such a muscle car. How was driving in those snowy roads? The car acted good or not?

slk230mb
03-19-10, 09:24 AM
Where's the pics of the food? :)

Looks like a fun trip and great pics as always!

thebigjimsho
03-19-10, 11:12 AM
Where's the pics of the food? :)


Jon's probably on a diet. He's been looking a little chunky lately.

I keed, I keed. I would've loved to have been a co-driver on that trip. I've been to every state in the continental US, and while there are still areas I want to see, I'm hoping to get to do a trans-Canadian road trip someday. One that would get me to Alaska.

Great pics, Jon...

V-Eight
03-19-10, 01:42 PM
Great pics. It certainly is a beautiful area around there, I'm still blown away every time I go.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-20-10, 08:32 AM
Canada sure is a beautiful country. Almost makes up for the freakishly cold weather you guys endure.

hueterm
03-20-10, 11:02 AM
^^^ Some would say that about you ;-)

Of course, who am I to talk -- we may get a bunch of snow today.......................WHICH IS THE SUCK!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-20-10, 11:47 AM
^^^ Some would say that about you ;-)

I know, but my cold comes from them!

77CDV
03-21-10, 11:19 PM
Couldn't you just borrow a cup of sugar like every other neighbor?